When a good(ish) idea hits you, run with it. It might be a slow jog, even a rambling shuffle, but run with it. So today I’m starting a “whenever I feel like it…or remember” blog series I’m calling Let Me Tell You About… I figure that’ll let me rant about damned near anything, from giftedness to lifelong learning to life to whatever I feel like at the moment, all wrapped up in a cohesive little bow.
Kinda like a blog, Jen?
Yes, kinda like a blog. You’re very smart. Hush. (This is what one does when one is pulling oneself out of a bad case of writers’ block wrapped in blog drift topped with chaos-flavored life sprinkles).
So. Gifted identification. When we first had Andy evaluated, he was four years old. We had no earthly idea what was going on with him, just that something was noticeably different between him and every other kid I had ever taught, babysat, or daycared. We were just looking for answers, so that we could maybe, somehow, figure out how to parent him and stay sane, because the sanity, it was teetering. A friend suggested evaluation, we had him tested, and whoa what a crazy road it’s been these last nine years.
If he hadn’t been ID’d twice-exceptional when he was four (and confirmed when he was tested again at age eight), I have absolutely no doubt whatsoever that schools would have seen only disability and he would have fallen through the cracks. Wait a sec, that did happen! The saving grace was that we had documentation indicating that he was gifted, required specific academic interventions that some schools were unable and unwilling to provide, and we could advocate for his needs all the way up to and through homeschooling. If we had not listened to our parental guts, or had trusted the overwhelmed education system to know what was best and find the giftedness that was being smothered by the other exceptionalities, his giftedness never would have been uncovered and his bright spark would have gone dim. I have seen that with so, so many kids, and so many adults as well. It’s heartbreaking to talk to an adult who is so very obviously gifted, but thinks he/she is dumb as a post because schools (and trusting parents that support them) spent so much time and money focused on the problems that there was nothing left for the bright child that was there too.
I’ve heard parents state they do not want to have their child tested for giftedness because they don’t want their child labeled. Well, it’s not a label unless you print it up on your handy-dandy Dymo and slap it on your kid. It’s a way to better understand how your child observes and interprets and responds to the world. Giftedness is not a badge of honor, nor is it a mark of shame. It just is. I feel we fail our kids when we don’t help them learn what makes them tick, and how to work with that. They know they’re different, they just don’t know why or how or what to do about it.
Yes, it can be expensive. Trust me, I know this on a very personal level. One kid has been evaluated twice, with the other we did the preliminary interview only because our budget laughed at our request (result: based on family history, parental questionnaires, and that siblings tend to have IQ results 5-13 points of each other…we have another 2e son. And just for shits and giggles, a 2e son who is about as different from his brother as possible. Um, yay?). Yes, society tends to think gifted = elitism. Eh, pfft to society, we’re raising these kids; anyone else can go blow. My sons will know the hows and whys of themselves. And yes, knowledge is frightening because then you have to do something with it. Well, that’s the unspoken deal we made with the universe when we had kids. There’s a lot I wish I didn’t know, that’s for sure, because while knowledge is power…with great power comes great responsibility. Boom, mashup of Schoolhouse Rock and SpiderMan. <drops mic>
If you can’t tell, I’m a huge proponent of evaluating kids for giftedness, if there are concerns (of the “uh, do other kids do this?” type) about the child. Parents are, by far, the best estimator of their child’s ability, and if a kid shows signs of giftedness, I say go for it. It’s not easy, it’s not cheap, it’s just like every other aspect of parenting. I believe that “know thyself (and your kid’s self)” is half the battle; the easy part of the battle, if truth be told.
I have regrets upon regrets from the last dozen years, but nowhere in that list is having Andy evaluated. It was probably one of the best decisions we made for him.
Today’s post was part of Gifted Homeschoolers Forum’s September Blog Hop, on why giftedness matters. I chose to focus on identification. Please go check out some of the other fantastic writers!